Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Where Did Summer Go.............

I was fortunate enough to be hired by Chris March Design this season to make some SF Pride Costumes for the Anheuser Busch float!
This was a big rush job, and had to be started with no models having been hired yet. Not a job for the feint of heart.  We figured that we knew who the drag queens would be up on the float, so I could go with somewhat of a guess and make it work.  I wasn't so sure who would be hired to walk along the float, so it was "specifically suggested" that the company hire with a particular waist measurement in mind.  And of course, that didn't happen.  To be fair - that's not always so realistic within a small time frame.  And in typical train wreck style, not having anything to do with Chris or I, costumes were designated at the last minute to the wrong people. This is just how it  usually works when you have all these corporate departments trying to do too many things at the last minute.  And yet, somehow, it always gets done.  The pros amongst us (thank you, Matthew James who made that fun jewelry! ) just rolled our eyes and did the "of course this is happening........." stance.  Then we got our kits out and went to work.  We pinned, sewed, glued and lined where the sequins chaffed.  Everyone did their thing and did it well.  We did it quick.  And our work made it to the annals of Time .com's "Gay Prides From Around The World"


Models: Pollo Del Mar
             Darcy Drollinger

Other credits will be given  when I find more names! Feel free to contact if you have credit info!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Hi Everyone! Im having a little Spring Sale in my Etsy Shop! You can have 15% off of anything listed in the store until Wednesday the 11th!

Let me know if you dont see your size! I might POSSIBLY have something in stock that isnt listed. Esp. the Sampants - sometimes I forget to relist when one sells!

Just use this discount coupon code at checkout:  15PERCENTOFFYAY

I Have A New Helper

.......................................................................Meet Maizy.

She was born on March 30th, likes to perch on storage things and clothing racks, attack my legs, play with tape measures, pounce on frothy fabric, nap in the sun, and entertain my clients. Currently we are making lots of new garment bags to put all the things in and away from kitten claws. And we have a huge time-out cage for when I need to work. I said I wouldn't do this again for a long while...............but I couldnt resist the face............

Catching My Breath

The last two months have been a whirlwind of wedding dresses, small production, and festival vending. And now that those particular projects are done and Ive caught my breath, I can focus on all the bridal and vintage alterations that are on my dress rack. But I had a few days to tend to my garden, play with my new kitten, and clean up my messy studio. As soon as the chaos is cleared, the shelves dusted, and the floors vacuumed and mopped, Im always able to launch back into the next project......which is a few cute, simple little costumes for a major beer company who need flyers and promo handed out during Pride. I cant believe its June already!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bessie Has Been Launched!

The Bessie Skirt - "Kathleen Crowley for FatChanceBellyDance®" - is now exclusively available online through the FatChanceBellyDance®  website! Regular and Petite sizes are available with a handy size chart to compare your measurements to! GET IT HERE!

I have been living in this skirt. It is easy to do just that. Its my go-to skirt for many occasions - or to simply go to the grocery store. You can wear it so many ways! I love being able to wear it with my torso covered and be able to wear it rolled down as well. When I was up in Seattle last weekend, for Cues And Tattoos and to visit my family, I just hiked this baby up in quite a few interesting ways to keep if off the wet ground. I didn't design it specifically for dancers, but as you can see, dancers are kind of my life - so you will usually see my work on dancers. But they look awesome on everyone - so go visit the website and get one of your very own! If you don't see your size, contact them and we will see what we can do for you - one size does not fit all and we understand that! And who knows.........maybe you will be inspired to get into belly dance!

Carolena Nericcio - Bohlman, founder and director of FatChanceBellyDance® has written a wonderful post on body image and the story of how this Bessie Skirt came to be. Read It Here!! I could not have written it better.

Other colors and variations of this skirt will be available soon - we started with black because black is what we all can wear - but other colors are coming! So stay tuned as we work our magick and bring you more elegant, fun, and wearable styles of clothing that you will surely love and wear for a long time!!!
Models in order of appearance:
Wendy Allen
Anita Lalwani
Kae Montgomery

Awesome Photography:
Sean Vallely (BlueFortySeven)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Karen's New Orleans Wedding

Karen, my last bridal client,  was just married only a week ago in a wonderful escapade through New Orleans!
They looked like they were having so much fun as they romped through graveyards and picturesque settings!
Hats off to the photographer who followed them around! I heard that everyone had a great time!

There were textures and layers and lots of silk for a beautiful Steampunk themed wedding! (there is our friend Kimberly on the left who introduced Karen and I - and has some fun pieces that Ive created!)

I built Karen a custom corset and matching bustle made of forest green silk. The corset had a contrast of a lighter green printed with Fleur-de-lys We also added covered buttons along the corset front and pocket. I made sweet little handmade flowers in green, white, and purple to embellish the bustle. And then I used the contrasting green as leaves to go with the flowers.

Under her bustle was a a skirt made of several layers of silk Dupioni in varying shades of ivory. And interspersed with the layers of silk, we added different fabrics of metallic gold and ivory.

We made the bustle and the underskirt detachable so that she could wear these things with other garments - which she did as she explored the city the next day.

She was so nice to work with - such a lovely person - It made me very  happy to see how she was beaming on her wedding day. Congratulations to Karen, Brian and and their family!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Formal Introduction Of The Bessie Skirt!

 The Bessie Skirt! A skirt that looks amazing on all shapes and sizes! I don't think that its possible for anyone to look bad in this garment. I'm serious. They are designed to accent a woman's curves. Its that dip under the bum that makes it work on everyone! I know this sounds funny, but you just cant help walking around like a sexy siren in these things! One woman told me this weekend that she got a date the first time she wore it out. The words elegant, fun, sexy, powerful, and dynamic all apply to this skirt. Lots of loops and buttons give you numerous ways to make this design work for you for almost any occasion!

Last year, I was experimenting with this concept of a skirt that flattered everyone. I found that great weight of cotton lycra that holds its shape and has some body to it. I played around with buttons and loops for additional looks. I played with lengths. And then one day, Carolena Nericcio - Bohlman of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc, started telling me about this concept of a skirt that she had been dreaming of - and I showed her the one that I had been working on - and that was that. Magic! So between the two of us, we improved upon this design and named it after her mother, Bessie. And you know.......Ive always had a car named Bessie........Bessie s are good......the name Bessie stands for charm, dependability,  elegance, and a good friend! Its a win. So these skirts are available at the FatChanceBellyDance studio in San Francisco. They will be online soon, but until then, you can order one by  emailing them through their website at fcbd.com or popping into the studio if you are in town. Sizes are available in XS, S, M, L, XL - and in Petite sizes as well!!  I know these sizes don't cover everyone - so feel free to message me if you are hard to fit - or just tall like me!

I'll have other colors to offer soon, but we're doing basic black for the time being. Because black rocks. It goes with everything and everyone looks good in it!

I was just vending in Seattle at Cues and Tattoos - and these skirts flew out the door! I was basically living in mine. They are great for travel! They are great for dancing/performing in! They are great for going grocery shopping! All three of these activities were done in the Bessie Skirt! Get Yours Now!

The lovely ladies modeling these Bessie Skirts are from left to right:
Kae Montgomery
Carolena Nericcio
Wendy Allen
Anita Lalwani

Monday, March 10, 2014

Cues & Tattoos 2014!

I'll be bringing some fun things for you to try on at Cues and Tattoos in Seattle at the end of this month!
I'll be vending with Carolena Nericcio at the FatChanceBellyDance booth! Come check out our new Bessie Skirt  and new vest - You had better grab one fast because I have a feeling they will be flying off the racks!

The Cues and Tattoos Marketplace @ The Seattle Center Armory will be open:
Friday, March 28th:
Saturday, March 29th:
Sunday, March 30th:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Evidentally, I Am The Wolf

 A dear friend of mine is calling me "The Wolf."

I just thought this was the funniest thing, but then when I thought about it, its kind of true.

 In Pulp Fiction, The Wolf is played by Harvey Keitel. In this small part, he  is the gruff older dude who was consulted to solve the problems.......because he was experienced and knew how to get stuff cleaned up....and he was impatient with the guys who didn't know how to clean up their messes.  And now I'm starting to call myself that too. Because its funny. And kind of true at times.

 I cant tell you how often over the years that I have been sent projects that costumers don't want to work on or they found themselves in a bind, and my help was called for. There is a certain amount of trust needed there, and I was usually happy to help out until I realized that they needed to learn this stuff on their own. This is how we learn.  And you don't learn this stuff overnight. Every project is going to bring a new set of challenges if you have not done that particular project several times before. Much of costuming is about problem solving. And we learn from our mistakes and experiences, both good and bad.. So I generally prefer to get my own clients and do my own thing these days unless I'm getting paid to teach and to consult.

Kendra Katz brought this teal, slinky fabric to me because she wanted a draped skirt to take to Russia on her current world tour with Mira Betz.. It was a rush job and had to be a group effort at that point, so having had plenty of experience with slinky fabrics, I knew what to do. And it made sense to send it to me. Nobody wanted to touch it, there wasn't time to problem solve and learn about it, and Ive worked with slinkys a lot.

 I worked with Kendra on some sketches and draped this lingerie fabric on my dress form until we got the look fairly correct. I basted and pinned and copied the design out onto paper. I cut the fabric out and re-draped it on the dress form. And then of course, when it was sewn up and tried on, it wasn't quite right because she actually has curves like a real woman - unlike the dress form, so we had to tweak it a bit to make it do what she wanted it to do on her body. But with a little work, it was a fun project and looked awesome on her, as you can see in the photos. They came to The Wolf (LOL) and that was the right decision. It all turned out real pretty on this lovely lady!

.Belt by Medina Maitreya, bra base by Dusty Paik, bra embellishments by Medina Maitreya and Marci Ann. I had the medallion for part of the belt closure - it was a great collaborative effort................there are a lot of really excellent costumers here in the San Francisco Bay Area!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy New Year!

I was very happy to see 2013 go away. It ended with a fast recovery from a long overdue foot surgery. And while I was super stoked to get this done, it also set me back. Being a self employed maker person, I always fall through the cracks for any kind of aid................so I got through it with the help of friends and family. I don't know how I could have pulled this off otherwise. 

And since I really had no time to be off my feet or luxuriate in self nurturing, I babied myself at first when I had no choice but to do so, and then went to work to push myself as much as humanly possible every single day. Doctor Chan was happy with the results of his surgery and was very please at my rate of recovery. He said it was above normal. Whew. So once I was on the mend, I had to work. And the race has been on ever since. I still have to put my feet up now and then, but I'm getting stuff done. And I have renewed energy and drive.

Ive got two wedding dresses in the works, some costuming, and mockups for a line of clothing that I am collaborating on with Carolena Nericcio of FatChanceBellyDance, Inc... Patterning  is not my passion, but Ive got to do it myself right now. Its slow going, but every day I do something - anything with the patterns. Its all coming along. This is the Bessie skirt. More info and great photos will be coming soon. Its a good product. A good design. A good project. This is not the best picture, but they are amazing on a real body. This waist part can be folded over and it is both versatile and flattering. They are being sold at the FatChanceBellyDance studio - you can call the studio and order, or go in and try one on - you wont be sorry! (call first, though!) 415-431-4322. fcbd@fcbd.com

I'm also doing some experimenting with a fellow designer here in town. We're playing around with the refurbishing of hoodies. Not a new concept. But a fun one. We'll soon see what we can come up with and if its even worth our time. But if nothing else, Im getting some new ideas...............and we'll each have a new hoodie!

There are other things like this going on. You never know what project is going to be a hit or a miss. But it hones the skills and keeps me on my toes. Already I am far busier than I was at this time last year. It looks like we are all working on climbing up out of that rabbit hole  - very Alice In Wonderland like.

But you know............the phoenix thing.............we cant be stopped.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Power Of Positive Thinking

I had foot surgery exactly 14 days ago. Bunions, 4 toes straightened. Owowowowowow! I had this done about 10 years ago, but wasn't able to get it done on the other foot until now. And the first thing that came flying out of my mouth when I woke up after surgery was, "Where's my cast?????????"

Yeah. They don't do that anymore. And 14 days later, I found myself walking with only one crutch as opposed to being off my feet and in casts for weeks and weeks. It might have been almost 8 weeks. And that is what my doctor insisted on.

But can I say how happy I am about this? It wasn't any less painful, but I'm walking already. It feels miraculous! Dr. Chan was beaming when I went in last week for my 1st check up. This was a difficult surgery because it had gone too long - he wasn't sure it was going to go as well as I was hoping. But it looks like I am a very lucky lady and everything looks great! So I was not working all this time, and today I got up and cut out some fabric and started photographing fun little things to post in my Etsy store. Ive been meditating on healing quickly. I know people have been praying for me. And soon I will be able to start wearing cute shoes again. (staying away from heels for a while).

It wasn't all about the shoes by any means..........but shoes make an outfit. We all know that. Onwards and Upwards!

Monday, October 7, 2013


Hi All! I have put my Rattie Tattie Skirts on sale until Friday October 11th! All that I have is what is currently in stock in my Etsy store. Im not sure when I'll be making more - so if you like one of these babies and it is in your size, grab it now! They are perfect for this Halloween season, but are fun all year long! There are three channels with ties for ruching and scrunching up and down in a variety of ways for a variety of looks. Most of my Rattie Tatties are sheer or have parts to them that are at least semi-sheer. They are fabulous for layering or wearing with leggings!
I hope you are enjoying this Halloween Season!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

All Stocked Up.............And Ready To Go!

It was not by design, because Im not one to create merchandise specifically for the holidays, but in my sewing quest to fill some racks for a Pre-Playa sale (which was a lot of fun - thank you 5&Diamond!) and finish up some items that have been languishing on a to-do shelf, I have been able to stock my Etsy store with lots of fun and pretty garments that will be a great cross-over for the Halloween season! This little green lace skirt would be wonderful for a Christmas party as well. (It'll be here before we know it!)

These are fun to wear and very versatile - three channels to scrunch and ruch up for a variety of different looks - but I don't see me making too many more of these Rattie Tattie Skirts in the future. Maybe once in a great while, but this is all there is for now. Grab em while Ive got em!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sparkly Fluff

So what do you do when you find a few yards of sparkly silver micro dot in one of your bins of fabric and you have a Burning Man Pre-Playa trunk show to vend at? Well, you make a bit of fluff to accessorize a leg with, thats what. Fusion Belly Dancers, Hoop dancers, Poi dancers.........these are great for something fun to wear with garters.......

You can get yours here

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Bloody Valentine

I started refurbishing some cholis that were not moving. I had a red dye pot and this is what happened. And thats how I like things to happen...........spur of the moment..........just like falling in love............it just happens............maybe Im watching too many Jane Austen movies........................

You can get the love here

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Pattern Whores Of The World, Unite!

This recent Fluffie Rufflie Pattern Pre-Sale was hugely successful and Ive got reams of these patterns being printed up again! My next step is to actually go and do more homework to package and print them up in a more professional way. I really should say that I would like them to look a certain way, and they do not look that way yet. But they are perfect for what you need them to do at this point in time. And I must put my nose to the grindstone and  learn that whole PDF file pattern thing. I don't want to mess with it for larger garments, but for smaller things like hats, vests, corsets.............that learning curve I can handle for now.

I will admit that I had qualms at first about selling my patterns because I'm kind of a control freak about my work and these Fluffie Rufflies were my babies. But the fact is that unless you have garments made in some kind of quantity and at a price-point that is "affordable", you are going to have to make the same garment over and over again as long as the market wants it - if you are DIY like me. You will burn out. And I want people to be sewing and making things. So this makes me feel good about selling patterns. I WANT to continue to be making things that I like to make, and I WANT you all to do the same thing! Pattern Whores of the world Unite!

This is Laurie Lulu Martin wearing a pair of the Fluffie Rufflie Pantaloons that she made from my pattern. You can make them as long or as short as you prefer. You can make them in any fabrics that work for you. You can wear them to dance in or to travel in, as Laurie here is doing. They are romantic and comfortable and feminine. Adorable and functional. Win!

As soon as Ive got my pre-sale pattern orders all packed up and mailed out, I'll be listing both available styles on Etsy. See you there!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Join Us at the 5 & Diamond Pre-Playa Loft Sale!!

I'll have a couple racks of Playa Wear at the 5&Diamond loft sale this year!! A bit of this and a bit of that - sequins, glitter, and cute, sexy stuff all geared toward adorning yourselves in comfort and style out there in the desert! Come by and say hi! Come get your Playa on!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It is getting to be time to focus on getting more Fluffie Rufflie patterns printed up! Ive had requests for them, and I have a Want List. Consider this a Pre-Sale - and you get your patterns first before I start selling them on Etsy! As soon as I have enough names and email addresses, I'll invoice you via Paypal and get these printed up again. Please send me your name, email address and which style you prefer: A) the Fluffie Rufflie Pantaloons (wide leg) or B) the Form fitting Fluffie Rufflie Dance Pants.
  Send your info here: kc.costumecouture@gmail.com

They are both $20.00 plus flat rate postage. I send them to you very old school - in a plain envelope - nothing fancy. These are a very basic pattern - no pretty, fancy illustrations or pictures, and you have to understand how to use a pattern without a lot of explanations and details (although I have a link to a tutorial and Ive written out instructions, yardage, etc.) They are not hard to make, just require patience and a lot of fabric! The Dance Pant style requires cotton lycra or spandex/stretchy fabric for the upper body. The Pantaloon should be made out of wovens.

Thanks! X

This is Dance Tribe in South Africa! Tarah Van Wyk made the Fluffie Rufflie pants for their costumes using my pattern!! She made their belts and bras, Her mother made their Gawahzee coats!!

This style is the form-fitting Fluffie Rufflie Dance Pant - stretchy fabric upper body!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Channeling Rita

Sherri Wheatley channeled Rita Hayworth's Gilda for the Belly Fusion Las Angeles Cinema Classics Show a while back. Vintage cars, Shiny black costume, long black gloves, lights, cameras.........I think she succeeded in capturing Gilda's wild glamor quite well, as you can see.

We needed to convey Rita in her black evening gown and still have a belly dance costume that allowed Sherri to perform without worrying about costuming mishaps. (Because we all know how dangerous a strapless bra can be!)
I draped a little wrap skirt out of black stretch charmeous and then covered a bra that we already knew fit her well and would hold up. I made damned sure that nothing was going to allow for that bra slipping down! The show was a success - and so was "Rita"!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Altering A Beaded Wedding Bodice

This bride needed some gapping closed up in the front of her gown. It was sized as a 14, which she is not - and I cant help but believe that the wedding dress industry does this on purpose in order to procure more money through expensive alterations. And I could even maybe justify their reasoning in this market if they would do quality alterations, but I rarely see that as the case. Many of these places will just chop off your dress and give it a cheap looking  hem. It always looks awful and they get away with it. I have a hard time believing that someone would think these hems look good, but maybe the brides just don't know better.

I do everything by hand or as nicely done with a machine as possible. I want it to hang right and that usually means giving it an ample hem.

But I digress. This bride needed her bodice taken in and I was able to do it by taking it in at the back zipper, adding satin cookies inside at the bra line, and taking in the front gap by folding over the fabric. I then carefully hand stitched the fold down, and strategically tacked down the beading so that it wasnt an obvious fix.

All in a day's work! :)

Aprons For One Of The 70 Best Restaurants In The World!

Last October, I was commissioned to find materials and create some oldie worldie looking aprons for a new Restaurant that was opening up in my favorite town in the whole wide world: Port Costa!

The aprons turned out really cute. The old time look and fee of the Hickory fabric that we found suited the time travel image that the owners of the Bull Valley Roadhouse were trying to convey. We made about 8 of these aprons for opening night and a few months later, they had become so busy that they needed more. But on returning to the source of the fabric purchase, I found out that someone had come along and bought up the rest of the roll! This is not unusual and kind of the story of my life, but I couldn't believe it. That bolt of fabric had been lying around the warehouse for years! After we got our 15 yards, the rest sold immediately. This happens to be how things work, I guess. I somehow , often manage to arrive at the scene of a burgeoning trend.

So I spent hours finding a source for more of this Hickory. This is the old workhorse fabric that the early train engineer's overalls were made of. This was a very utilitarian fabric that is still being made in the U.S.A but is mainly used now for designer jeans. It isn't found in most retail outlets, so a bit of finagling had to be done. But we got our fabric.

And now my favorite town in the WHOLE WORLD is now home to one of the 70 best new restaurants in the WHOLE WORLD according to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Now how cool is that????????
I knew good things were in store for that town. And I'm here too, in the cute little town next door! So make an appointment to come out and see me and we'll make an appointment to go do brunch if you come out on a Saturday or Sunday. I fear it might be hard to get in sometimes, but we'll figure something out!

I'm so happy for Sam and Earl - the owners of this fine establishment! Not only are they extremely creative, but they are two of the nicest people that Ive ever met.
See you soon!